What are main differences between women's and men's kimonos?
The main differences are that men's kimonos are shorter (though still long), as they are not worn with a big, length-shortening fold at the waist; women's are very long so that they can be shortened by folding the waist over. The sleeves on men's kimonos and haoris are attached to the garment's body all or almost all the way down their depth, whereas women's kimono and haori sleeves are only attached at the top and swing free from the body for most of their depth to allow a deep obi sash to go round the waist without the sleeves getting in the way. Men's obis are narrower than women's obis and worn a lower, so the sleeves don't get in the way, so men's sleeves can be attached to the body for their entire depth. Men's kimonos tend to be very subdued in colour and pattern (apart from stage ones or some yukata kimonos for festivals), whereas women's can be very colourful and decorative.
What's the difference between mon and kamon?
A mon is a crest and a kamon is a family crest. One does not need to wear one's family's mon, any mon is acceptable, it is not like coats of arms, where you would only use the one associated with your family. Women do not have to wear their husband's kamon, they can wear their own family's, this wife's kamon is known as onnamon (onna=woman, mon=crest). So one can choose to wear a kamon or just any mon one likes. Nobles, Samurai, many families etc. do, of course, have own kamon. The Japanese royal family mon is kiku (chrysanthemum). Mon on clothing make it formal, instead of casual. A kimono or haori can have one, three or five mon on it; the more mon, the more formal the occasion it may be worn at.
What's a good way to display a kimono?
There are special frames for displaying kimonos, called ikou. These are hard to find, very large and very, very expensive. You can display a kimono very nicely by threading a rod through the sleeves (a bamboo pole about 2.5cm diameter) and hanging it on the wall from a simple string loop in the centre. It looks good if you display the back of the kimono with the fronts pulled out and clipped to the outer edge of the sleeve. The rod should be long enough to go from sleeve end to sleeve end. If good at simple DIY, you can make a stand with a square wooden base, a slim post in the centre with a post across the top that threads through the sleeves to hold them out. Decide the height to suit your taste; you can have it tall enough to just keep the kimono off the floor or make it shorter so the hem of the kimono is slightly spread out on the floor. You can see a diagram of one in some of the ornat boy's kimono descriptions on this site. Some of the ornate girl's and boy's kimonos make great display items, as they are very beautiful and smaller than adult women's ones, so require less space, Haori ackets make lovely display items and some are great displayed inside out if they have ornate linings, especially the men's ones.
Does a haori need a sash?
The Japanese do not wear haoris with a sash, they are worn on top of kimonos. However, worn with our Western world style clothes they look fabulous unbelted but also look great with a sash or a belt around them. You can see examples in the Kimono Info section of the site where there is a link to a page showing them being modelled with and without belts and sashes.
Are my credit/debit card details safe on your site?
I leave all card payments to PayPal. I do not handle the credit or debit card transactions on my website; the shopping cart takes the customer to Paypal and the payments are handled by them, so none of a customers card details come to me because Paypal does not give any sellers the card details. When someone has bought online from my website there are none of their card transaction details on my site at all nor any in the site's database, so, even if my site got hacked into, which is exceedingly unlikely, there are no card details for a hacker to get. Because Paypal don’t give me those details, my site can't put them at risk. Paypal is very, very secure when it comes to online payments, so an extremely safe way to pay online by card, however customers in UK can also pay by cheque or Postal Order if they prefer.
What is your returns policy?
Most items may be returned in a maximum of 14 days from when the customer receives them. Email me stating reason for return before posting it back, I will email you the return address. They must be returned unused and in exactly the same condition in which they were sent. Returns will be rejected if the item appears to have been used or if it has picked up any smell (e.g. fragrance, smoke etc.) or marks and the customer will have to pay postage to have the package returned. *Note that postage of packages, both to and from the customer, cannot be refunded. The price of the goods will be refunded after the returned item has been thoroughly inspected. A very few items may not be returned; these are usually delicate antiques that may not be frequently handled or require great care. If an item may not be returned, it will say so in its Description.
How do you clean a vintage kimono or other Japanese garment?
As is standard when purchasing any vintage garment, cleaning must be considered and done very carefully and is done at the owner's own risk. You have to be very careful when cleaning a silk kimono, just as you would be when cleaning anything made of silk; colours can run and a washing machine can rip off the sleeves. Sponging spots can also leave water marks. Some silk kimonos can be hand washed but you decide that at your own risk. I have ruined just as many silk ones as I have had success with. Synthetic textile kimonos can often be hand washed and have the excess water spun out in the washing machine but a few synthetic ones do have colours that run. Again, you decide at your own risk if you can wash it or if you should get it dry cleaned. The services of a good dry cleaner are advised; tell them it is silk and that it is hand tailored, as most vintage kimonos are. The traditional Japanese way to clean a kimono is called arhairi and is a technique of un-picking all the stitching in the kimono, washing the individual pieces, then re-tailoring it. Not surprisingly, this method is very expensive, so most Japanese people now have them dry cleaned.
How do you tie an Nagoya obi with a taiko knot?
You will find excellent instructions here. The obi ita referred to in the first instruction is a board to stiffen the front of the obi sash, worn between the sash front and the kimono.
What are good ways to display an obi?
You will find pictures giving examples of obi display here. They also look very good laid down the centre of a bed or along the top of a dining table or sideboard.
What are the different types of women's kimonos?
There is a list of different type of women's kimonos here, with pictures to let you see them.
How do you put on a woman's kimono?
You will find instructions showing how to put on a yukata kimono and obi here, in the form of video clips. Putting on the kimono ensemble is known as kitsuke. There are links on that page to other instructions too.